Wesleyan Center for Prison Education

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About Us

Under the auspices of Wesleyan University, The Center for Prison Education offers a high-caliber liberal arts education inside prison walls. Through the CPE, prisoners at the Cheshire, MacDougall, and York Correctional Institutions are invited to apply to take accredited Wesleyan courses taught by Wesleyan faculty members. After a rigorous application process, eighteen students are selected and transferred to Cheshire CI or York CI, where they are enrolled in courses that receive full Wesleyan academic credit.

The CPE offers a broad curriculum of Wesleyan courses in the humanities and natural and social sciences. Students at Cheshire and York work closely with faculty, and collaborate with students from the main campus, who act as writing tutors, teaching assistants, and peers. Currently, we have thirty-five male students enrolled at Cheshire CI, and seventeen female students at York CI. Enrolling new cohorts routinely at these facilties, the CPE intends to grow by approximately twenty students each year.

The CPE offers numerous volunteer and service-learning opportunities for main-campus students as well. Extending their on-campus leadership roles, many upperclassmen serve as writing tutors and teaching assistants for courses at Cheshire. Students have the opportunity to work closely with incarcerated men, women, and youths through college-prep and academic workshops. The CPE also offers policy and research internships to students on Wesleyan's main campus.

By fostering innovative and collaborative learning, the CPE offers a dynamic approach to reduce rates of reincarceration and democratize access to educational opportunity. The CPE is a member of the Consortium for the Liberal Arts in Prison at Bard College.


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